NorthWoods Database


(Click here to return to the main Quality of Life Database page.)

Data and Collection Process

What type of information is the CRC collecting?
Recreational infrastructure data fall under five categories: indoor recreation, outdoor recreation, youth recreational programming, adult recreational programming, and waterfront recreational amenities. For an example an example of the 2018-2019 inventory, contact the CRC.

How are data for recreation collected?
The CRC collects community recreation data by contacting local officials knowledgeable of a community’s recreational infrastructure (e.g., director of parks and recreation). Once we have contacted the appropriate person, we send a questionnaire-inventory to the point person to complete via secure online survey platform. Responses are completed by the community point person. If a data point is missing or empty, it is because this information was not provided to the CRC by the contact person.

When is the data collected?
We collect community recreational infrastructure data in two-year rotations. The first wave of data collection occurred in 2016-2017, and the second wave of data collection is underway for 2018-2019. We plan to collect a third wave starting in January of 2020 through December of 2021. If your community has not yet completed an inventory, please contact the CRC at We can send you a secure link to complete this information.

About Overall Recreation Scores

All data points were recoded into dichotomous variables. For example, we collect data on things such as the number of parks, number of baseball fields, and miles of paved trails in the community. For our data visualization, we recode these data into whether the recreational amenity is present (1) or absent (0) for creating overall and category scores. After data were recoded, we created z-scores, or standardized scores, for each community by population cluster group and recreational category (i.e., indoor, outdoor, youth programs, adult programs, and when appropriate, waterfront) using the following formula:

Z-score = (Community Category Value) minus (Average of Community Category Value) / (Standard Deviation of Community Category Value)

The population clusters were determined utilizing k-mean cluster analysis, which resulted in three distinct groups. Z-scores are relative to other communities within the same population cluster and not an absolute measure.

We completed this process for each of the four main categories (i.e., indoor, outdoor, youth programs, and adult programs) and then added or summed each category together to establish an overall score. Formula:

Total Recreation Score = Indoor (z-score) + Outdoor (z-score) + Youth Programs (z-score) + Adult Programs (z-score)

We utilized the following cutoffs in order to assign the expectation level for each community within each recreation category as well as the overall score:

  • Exceeds Expectations are communities whose recreation score is > 0.5 standard deviations from the mean of all communities within their population group.
  • Meets Expectations are communities whose recreation score is between 0.5 and -0.5 standard deviations from the mean of all communities within their population group.
  • Below Expectations are communities whose recreation score is < -0.5 standard deviations from the mean of all communities within their population group.

If you would like to know more detail about your community, please contact the CRC at